James McKay & Charlotte Sleigh: This is Science

After an absolutely fantastic (and sold out!) show in Manchester, the Kent edition of Experimental Words is fast approaching! Come see the show on Wednesday 1 November, where it's part of Canterbury Festival - and promises to be incredible. One poet taking part is James McKay, and he'll be working with Professor Charlotte Sleigh - who researches where science intersects with the humanities. James' poetry knowledge is encyclopaedic, so they're a perfect pair to create a new sci-poem for the show! Here's their warm-up poem - another in the This Is Science series.


(incorporating texts by John Keats and Eric Frank Russell)

Exact science concerns itself
solely with those things
demonstrably true.
This is science.
Humans behave rationally
in their own self-interest.
This is not science.

Its facts are facts by virtue of
repeated experiments and
the systemisation of their results into
an impressive array of statistics.
This is science.
52% is a convincing majority.
This is not science.

Water is H2O.
This is science.
All things are made of water.
This... was science.

Mules are sterile.
This is science.
Kate Middleton is fecund.
This is science, but uninteresting.

The speed of light is a constant.
This is science.
Beauty is truth, and truth beauty.
That is all you know on Earth
and all you need to know.

This is science.